Is That All?

Nats on 62 per cent! Yawn…Of course they are – they’re not a political party but a faith-based movement – the Scottish branch of the Moonies. The Moanies, maybe.

It’s crazy of course, not normal, and needs an unconventional explanation. I know, let’s not bother analysing it, let’s just say they’re all nuts. Oh, and by the way so is Jeremy Corbyn. A stark, raving mad, sultana-laden fruitcake. Must be…eh?

Well the TNS survey does find that the satisfaction figures for key policy areas don’t appear to back up the headline hero worship. If you’re determined to vote for them next May, you’d expect more than a quarter to a third of people to think they’re doing a good job. That must mean they’re not judged on normal criteria, like George Clooney being assessed on acting ability rather than matinee looks.

Or does it? Look at the number who don’t know, don’t have a view or, as Professor Curtice might say, can’t be arsed. More people Don’t Bloody Know than have a view on three out of four policy areas with the finding for the NHS scoring one point higher.

It may not be a ringing endorsement but it seems to me folk not bothering to have a view isn’t much of a concern for the SNP. Voters asked: Are they doing OK on crime? and basically shrugging their shoulders while mumbling ‘suppose so, aye, but no, but’ hardly represents an anti-Nationalist insurgency. Giving a Don’t Know option on such a broad question is like giving a jury a Not Proven verdict to consider…an easy Out.

Ask me, Derek Bateman Voter, if I think the SNP are doing a good job on Health for example and my rant would be…Generally, I think they probably are doing okay and certainly as well as the other lot did and since they’re now so dismal they have no chance of changing anything anyway, right? And while I’d like to see more money going in, where’s it going to come from as budgets are cut? I like having one of the world’s newest and fanciest hospitals just across the river built on time without my grandkids paying for it but I know there are always administration problems and parts of the NHS aren’t brilliant and I do see lots of media reports that are negative and it must be depressing for staff who are already under pressure and God knows what it does to the poor folk actually in for treatment or about to go in and hearing how God-awful it is. Draws breath.

I could more easily just say: ‘Don’t know, mate…I’ve no really thought about it.’

What does appear to be true is that many of those same procrastinators are prepared to back the SNP regardless, presumably because they think that overall and including the specific areas covered, they best represent themselves and the country – a priceless asset once coveted and carefully burnished by Labour. In fact is it so different from a Labour Party which breached its compact with the people over financial regulation, cheap loans and mortgages, union rights and that bloody war and yet still had every single MP returned in Scotland only five years ago with its vote share increased. That was blind faith and loathing of the Tory enemy every bit as much as today’s finding (which still hasn’t been turned into a single vote let alone a seat). So this huge wave of seemingly inexplicable support isn’t totally unique. It’s just happened kind of quickly and overwhelmed us for the time being.

Check those who think the Nats are not doing a good job…the numbers are between 19 and 29 per cent. Yet that is less than the remaining combined non-SNP vote recorded in the poll (38 per cent). That presumably means that a lot of anti-SNP types or Don’t Knows nevertheless are giving the SNP the nod of approval for governance.

Of course if you’re Labour or one of the declining Tories or a Lib Dem Do-do, the wee qualifications about performance in office are sheer bloody luxuries only to be dreamed of. How does it feel to imagine yourself sitting in a chamber where there could be 78 Nats and up to 10 pro-indy Greens…time for counselling.

The Sturgeon manifesto could add another layer of misery to a Labour Party now being buffeted by acrimony over the southern leadership and even propagandists like Brian Wilson are telling them how crap they are. Did I mention council by-elections? We may soon, as Professor Hassan keeps saying, have to be kind to Labour and to No voters or they may vacate the scene altogether – and then what would we do?

We are engulfed in a perfect storm now – threadbare opposition, a powerful, articulate SNP in government here while the real battle looms in the south where they are of course simultaneously in opposition fighting a vicious Tory administration planning to downgrade Scots MPs. This is a Nationalist dream script combining (executive) power with (justifiable) grievance against a backdrop of relentless support. If it all goes wrong, someone wake me up.

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19 thoughts on “Is That All?

  1. Aye, Dinnae Ken seems to be the default mode of whoever pollsters have on their lists of “must-asks”. I don’t actually know anybody who has ever taken part in a poll, from any part of the UK, so God only knows who they are actually polling.

    • This article is incredibly lazy. Percentages of ‘don’t know’ were 6, 4, 11, and 8: not high.This “More people Don’t Bloody Know than have a view on three out of four policy areas with the finding for the NHS scoring one point higher” is simply not true. Yes, the wording (‘neither’ in place of ‘adequate’) was odd. But that is really no excuse. And certainly not something to attempt to build an article out of.

  2. Every now & then I think I should, at least, review my various subscriptions and somehow Mr Bateman knows this and publishes something like this to ensure my small contribution to the Wine Club continues. Thanks Derek – once again articulating my somewhat fuzzy thoughts on these poll results

  3. “We may soon, as Professor Hassan keeps saying, have to be kind to Labour and to No voters or they may vacate the scene altogether – and then what would we do?”


  4. I think we’re in virgin territory here so nobody can say what’s going to happen next. One thing is certain, we’re not going to go back to the way things were.

  5. I was chatting to a no-voting friend who explained to me that he woke up on the 19th September absolutely gutted that Scotland had voted no. This was a very intelligent human being who laughed at the heart vs ‘head’ conflict (head winning narrowly as he saw things, then heart doing some pay back on 19th). Such people will gladly vote SNP till the cows come home but in the end it only really matters what will they do in indy2?

    I would love to see work getting underway and entering the public square which begins to address the areas where we lost the votes of soft no’s – the currency, the economy. Maybe this is out there but I still hear the ‘too poor’ argument being given as the reason for folk not making that shift so that head and heart are saying the same thing.

  6. but I still hear the ‘too poor’ argument”

    I heard that most recently from a professional guy who works in the oil industry!!

    Don’t ask me to fathom out the ways many Scots minds work-i’m 70 years old , and STILL haven’t a clue!

    • If we are really poor,who is responsible for the mismanagement of our resources?
      As long as Scotland’s macro economic policy remains with London,they are responsible for the outcome.
      Would Norway be the wealthy country it now is had they the misfortune to have their government in Westminster?
      Resources sucked out of their country to allow an elite in London to pretend they are still a world power.

  7. Many in the oil industry voted No, and it shouldn’t really have come as a surprise. Those same people were doing very well, thank-you, from their well-paid oil jobs and didn’t want to rock the boat.
    Times have changed; that boat is currently being dashed on the rocks. It’ll be a couple of years until it’s refloated. In the meantime the supply chain is being decimated – 25,000 jobs gone or going in Aberdeen before xmas. Property values dropping more than 20%. Cancel santa!
    These No-voters are seeing the true value of the better together campaign in the form of redundancy notices. They are waking up to the truth that is bitter together. Virtually no help from Westminster for a key industry in crisis. Talk of tax breaks are meaningless. Companies only pay tax when they are in profit. Few of them are at $40/barrel and the expectation is for $20-30 a barrel by the end of the year.
    The silver lining is reduced funds flowing to Westminster… and a lot of No voters questioning the integrity of Westminster leaders. About time!

    • Chas, you are making a wrong assumption with regards to offshore workers. The majority of offshore workers wanted independence as shown by the STV offshore workers poll in August 2014 – “A poll of more than 1000 workers by recruitment website Oil and Gas People found that 64% plan to vote Yes in September”.

  8. I believe and indeed hope that many folks are reflecting on the outcome of the no vote and the recent GE. The arguments for better together are falling apart by the day and the very fear factors painted of an independent Scotland have materialized in the form of the UK Tory led government.
    This is not the course that most people in Scotland want. Patience though is key, we need to get it right next time. The latest polls are a useful pointer for the SNP and SG. The other lot are all over the place.

  9. Can anyone here honestly say they knew this would happen? We are seeing the complete disintegration of UK politics in Scotland. They scraped through a narrow win last year and it cost them their relevance. Labour hopes to be politely applauded off the pitch. Ruth Davidson has ran off to Lothian to escape the collapse of her party in Glasgow. William Rennie has decided to be “Militant” for reasonable people.

    Scotland maybe split down the middle when it comes to independence. But increasingly a lot of folk who voted no are switching to the SNP. Is this a surge for Indy? – Polls say it’s narrowed to 50/50ish – so the SNP surge is being driven by something else. I think a large part of it is their anti-austerity stance, not just their competence.

    People who voted labour saw their party roll over for the tories. Abstaining is not opposing. Abstaining is conceding the ground to your opponent. Abstaining is really endorsing a view and saying that the Tories are right. This is not the reason that folk voted labour. Labour have dined out heartily for the past 50 years on an anti-austerity/anti tory ticket. For Scottish labour to think it was ok to talk like the tories and still get votes was frankly idiotic.

    We also can’t ignore Labour’s decision to ignore that the question of independence crossed party boundaries. They foolishly and recklessly drove a huge swathe of voters that once supported them into the arms of a party that once only had a 1/5th of the Scottish vote. Now it has 50% in such concentrated in enough areas to almost take all the seats in Scotland. That was the major achievement of the No campaign – something the unionist parties are having problems coming to terms with.

    I still remember George Foulkes attack the SNP for being competent in Government and doing so deliberately. Rather than be mocked for it, the media nodded their heads as if hearing sage wisdom being passed down from on high. The SNP are bad – because they are competent. This is the deeply held conviction for Scottish labour. So maybe Mr Hassan is right. They are more to be pitied than scorned.

  10. Aye, that’s got to leave a mark. Eight years in and your opposition’s vote share increases.

    That has to be the biggest slap in the face you could possibly receive as a politician. It screams in twenty foot high neon lettering just how much contempt the public hold you and your party.

    But then they have earned it. They had it all for so long. The loyalty of the electorate, every position of responsibility worth having from council level through Holyrood and Westminster for literally decades, the backing of the media and at times the state and to what end? The deconstruction and devastation of working communities, presiding over the loss of the heart of our manufacturing industries, the widening of the rich/poor gap and the spread of near unchecked poverty among those who needed them most. Decades of electoral loyalty only for the life chances and circumstances of their electorate to be curtailed and then go backwards.

    The capper? The scandals, the naked graft and theft. The dirty deals at local and governmental level. Self serving incompetence was bad and bad enough, but to compound those entirely human errors with naked corruption and greed when your people are going without, when its a choice between paying rent, heating or eating?

    Their answer to all of this? We simply don’t understand, or we’re incapable.

    I think we understand them only too well.

  11. Hello Derek,
    You’re certainly letting Scottish Labour have it with both barrels of late but you were kinder to Ken Macintosh than he deserved when you interviewed him recently. I almost shouted at the iPad, we’ll I did shout a bit to be fair. He was stuffed full of contradiction, delusion and hypocrisy. Then again forgive my media naivety, if a man is hanging himself then all you need to do is feed him the rope.

  12. ronald alexander mcdonald

    Labour in Scotland have become a farce. John Cleese could write a sit com about them.

    Don’t mention the branch office. Somebody said it once, but i think we got away with it.

    • John Cleese could write a sit com about them.”

      Why invoke Cleese(Bitter together) in this? Have you read Frankie Boyle in the Guardian on Liebour? Hilarious!

  13. Something that I have yet to see mentioned is that while Labour ruled the roost in Scotland they stuffed the likes of health Boards and the numerous quangos with their compliant placemen and supporters.

    However, with The SNP having been in power now for 8 years many these Labour apparatchiks who wielded so much undemocratic influence will have been losing their posts and the longer The SNP are in power the more of them will disappear into political oblivion until they are all gone.

    Inevitably such posts will be filled with those who support The SNP or are sympathetic to them instead of just being SNP Bad Labour placemen and placewomen.

    OK it is probably not fair but when has political patronage ever been fair – at least now appointees are more likely to be in it for the right reasons and not just to line their pockets.

  14. OK it is probably not fair”

    All fair in love and war…………. (which this is)

  15. dennis mclaughlin

    This is what the 2017 local council elections harbinger….Matheson and Davidson have read the runes and are taking to the liferafts…they can run ,but they cannae hide from the voting public with long memories of dogging and burly men in Annan!.

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